Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Reader Request: Help Me Find a Winter Work Coat!

I love a reader request! Recently Amy reached out and asked for help in finding a work-appropriate winter coat, possibly wool, definitely "chic and Boden-esque." I thought this sounded like a fun challenge and I realize now I probably should've asked for more details - budget, climate, etc. But, I didn't, so I can pretty much do what I want. Heh.

NOW. I have Opinions About Coats. A winter coat is one of those things where I think you should buy the best one you can afford because a quality, well-fitting coat will last you a long time. I also think that if you buy a wool coat, you shouldn't buy it in black, especially if you have pets, because you will ALWAYS be covered in fur and lint and you will NEVER GET IT ALL OFF. Ever. Ever ever ever. Trust me, buy any color but black.

Also, black wool coats are boring and funereal and you don't need a coat that "goes with everything" because when you put it on, it's your entire outfit. Sure, a neutral color is more business-appropriate but if you don't work in a super conservative field, have some fun with your coat! This is what I mean:

Since Amy mentioned Boden, I am starting with Boden. This coat is BEAUTIFUL and has a colorblock surprise in the back that makes me like it even more. If that pale pink color worries you, it also comes in navy, with a very British surprise in the back:

So fun! So cheeky! It's pretty expensive but code G9F3 takes off almost $100, bringing it down to a slightly more reasonable price. Now, since we're still in the fun zone I went looking to see what I could find from Diane Von Furstenberg and found this one on TJ Maxx:

I sincerely love the cheer of a red coat and DVF makes really, really nice coats. Just trust me on this. Oh, and I also found this wonderful blue double breasted number:

This one is Sam Edelman and it's quite reasonably priced. Now, let's get a bit more classic and head over to J.Crew, maker of very tailored, classic coats:

The Lady Day coat is a best-seller for a reason. It comes in a bunch of good colors, it's super flattering and it's got thinsulate so you won't freeze to death. It's not currently part of a promotion but I'll bet you anything it will be on sale next week. (Black Friday is coming!)

There's also this really excellent "new" Lady Day coat: 

This pink color will boost your complexion and it'll cheer you up in the middle of January when winter declares itself the actual worst. Okay, one more of a more practical nature: 

This is Cole Haan and it's pretty conservative but it has that chic shawl collar that you can mess with to make it more fashion. I also love the swing shape which can be really flattering! Cole Haan is a reliable brand for coats (I've got several) and this one looks like a solid choice. Also, grey is an excellent neutral for a wool coat. 

Okay, let's move on from the solid colors and explore some of the really good plaids I'm seeing:

I found this lovely coat on TJ Maxx (sorry about the limited sizing) because I didn't want to torture you with this stupidly expensive Vince coat that I think is really beautiful. Plaid is timeless but the recent onslaught of plaid coats feels a bit trendy to me so I am not going to suggest you spend $800 on one. I am not a monster. I mean, check this out: 

This is so current and chic and it's from the Gap! It's also on sale! It won't keep you warm, but it'll look really nice for a winter or two. Same for this one: 

This is from H&M which is why it looks so cool, though it's potentially made out of dryer lint. I don't love the idea of a fast fashion coat but I also get that not everyone has a Serious Coat budget. This one also comes in a bunch of solid colors, including a very nice burgundy. 

Okay, a final note. If you live somewhere that gets super cold and you value warmth over business-appropriateness, this is what I suggest:

Just give in to the puffer and get one that's well-designed and sleek (and maybe has a faux-fur collar because why not.) This is another Cole Haan and I just love how streamlined it looks. And yes, I know it's black but cat hair won't stick to you, so you're good. 

If you have any good suggestions for Amy, feel free to leave a comment and help a girl out. 


  1. All of these are fantastic recs. I am saving up for that Lady Day coat.

    This tip may be region specific (I live in the South, where many coats do not get rigorous use, not sure if it would hold up in cold/heavy coat usage areas) but I find FANTASTIC coats in thrift stores. This weekend I found a swingy vintage baby-blue wool London Fog coat for twenty dollhairs. Cheaper than fast fashion, substantially better quality.

    1. Amy here! I, too, live in the South. I, too, have eyeballed London Fog. ty!

  2. The issue with the light colored coats in the city is that they get grimy along the edges and I HATE THAT. I don't live in the city any more, so maybe that's not such a problem? But my use for a nice coat is almost zero, sadly.

  3. My mother bought a red wool, full length coat in the early 80's while working in a department store and I wore it through my late 90's high school days and well into my early aughts work days. We loved that coat. I agree anything but black because pet fur and any kind of dust/dirt/grime/chocolate shows immediately on my currently black coat (thankfully it's machine washable). I cannot do puffers (I look like a burnt Stay-Puff Marshmallow person). Everyone in Chicago was in black puffers down to their ankles last winter and I was amused. But you can always use color to accessorize with gloves hats, and scarves so there is that.

  4. I sooo wish that the lady day coat came in the orange color of the J Crew double breasted topcoat. Or maybe I don't, since now I don't have to debate over spending the $400....

  5. Omg that Vince coat looks like a bathrobe. And it's $800! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    1. Hey! I love that coat. The pics on Shopbop are bad, but check it out here: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-brushed-plaid-wool-blend-long-coat/5271484/full?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FAll%20Results&color=raisin%20blue%20plaid

    2. Better, but still bathrobey. It would look turrible on me. Good thing I'm a different Amy ;)

    3. Hahaha. I am pretty sure it would look terrible on me too, but it's pretty. And ridiculously priced.

    4. haha, my first thought on that Vince coat was "oh that would totally look like a bathrobe on me." love the purples and blues in it though.

  6. I'm a believer in bright colors in winter, not least because I usually walk home from work in the dark and want to increase the chances that drivers will see me. And yes, I do wear a flashing light clipped to my purse, I'm not crazy. So coats - I have an orange one, a purple one, and bright red and yellow peacoats. All of these are wool and all of them are either LLBean or Lands End. More to the price point, I got three of them on eBay. They're really good quality and because they were cheap i could get a variety. Chicago winters are long. So go find your size in the store, and then look at Poshmark or eBay. The yellow peacoat never fails to get a compliment.

  7. You all are the beeessssttttt, thank you!! Checking out all these recs and reporting back posthaste.

  8. It's funny that Vince and H&M coats have approximately the same amount of wool in the fabric. Both are gorgeous, though.


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